Water talks on hold with County pending 'preferred
Posted July 13,
Nearly four months after Simcoe County councillors voted to engage the
services of provincial mediation to deal with the upper tier's future
role in municipal water and wastewater infrastructure, the process
remains stalled because "the preferred facilitator who we hope will
support this initiative is currently engaged in another file,"
according to Debbie Korolnek, General Manager of Engineering, Planning
Last March, in a 73 to 41weighted recorded vote, County councillors
(including New Tecumseth mayor Rick Milne and deputy mayor Jamie Smith)
approved asking "the Office of the Provincial Facilitator to initiate
discussions with Simcoe municipalities regarding potential future roles
of the County and its local municipalities in the provision of
coordinated, sustainable water and wastewater servicing in accordance
with the Provincial Growth Plan."
Bradford West Gwillimbury, Essa, Severn, Springwater, and Wasaga Beach
were opposed. Collingwood split its vote as mayor Sandra Cooper voted
against, but deputy mayor Brian Saunderson was in favour.
The County is waiting for Paula Dill, whose previous work here was as
part of the Places to Grow Simcoe Specific Amendment which set growth
policies and population allocations through to 2013.
"The purpose of this assignment is to gather information and help the
parties work through this process," said Ms. Korolnek in an email to
Free Press Online. "There is no desire for a fixed result. The
preferred facilitator is one person that the County and its local
municipalities have worked with in the past and there is a level of
trust and confidence on the part of the County and its local
In an email to Free Press Online, Warden Gerry Marshall, repeated
comments he made back in March, noting again, "the review will be
optional to those municipalities that wish to participate in the
"I can't stress enough to our residents, municipalities, and local
councils that the only decision that has been made to date is to have
discussions with our municipalities and report back to County Council
with these findings. There may be no benefits to the County's
involvement at all, or some of the interested municipalities may have
different needs that could be met through multiple approaches. Water
and waste water services are big ticket items for our municipalities.
This will be a collaborative approach to an area of concern to the
majority of our municipalities that face continued and growing